Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka) took his first win of the 2018 season when he sprinted to victory on stage 3 of the Dubai Tour. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) finished in 2nd place and Marcel Kittel (Katusha) had to be content with 3rd place.

Stage 3 of the Dubai Tour was yet again another sprint fest, with the fastest riders in the world going full tilt for the line in Fujairah. Mark Cavendish proved fastest with an impressive acceleration over the last 200 metres of the 180-kilometre stage, securing the first win this season for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka

It was a steady build up to the sprint finale once again, with a 4-rider early break going clear by 7-minutes. Some blustery wind conditions resulted in a bit of action from the peloton, the main group splitting in two. This increased tempo saw the escapees caught in no time. As the wind died down though, so did the overall pace of the race and the peloton regrouped for the final 60 kilometres.

The sprinters’ teams controlled the front in the closing kilometres as they each tried to position their leader near the front. Coming towards the finish, the Manxman moved up onto the wheel of Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) and launched his sprint to come over the top of the Italian and his countryman, Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) in the final 200 metres of the stage. Bouhanni and Kittel could only follow in Cavendish’s wake, as he took his first win of the 2018 season.

Mark Cavendish – “I am really happy with the win and with how the team rode today. We had a plan to be in the front at the roundabout at 3km to go, that was our first finish-line. That was good, we had a full African leadout into it, the lads were wicked. It was Bernie, Renshaw and I in the last 3km before I had to do my own thing in the final.

“I was lucky that Nacer let me in, in the last couple of hundred meters. After yesterday I realised I can’t really match Elia in a drag race, so I had to leave it late and wait until he passed his peak in the sprint. I then used the slingshot to pass.

“I am happy with that and with how the Dubai Tour has gone. I’m just a bit disappointed now that I sat up in the sprint yesterday. I let my team down because technically I could’ve been in the leader’s jersey now if I finished second and got the time bonus. I can only apologise to my team for that and make up for it on the other days going forward.”

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